Flood Warning Systems

Bureau of Meteorology Warnings

Warnings are issued by the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) to tell people about possible flooding.

A Flood Watch means there is a developing weather pattern that might cause floods in one or two days.

A Flood Warning means flooding is about to happen or is already happening. There are minor, moderate and major flood warnings. 


 A Minor Flood Warning means   floodwater can:
 A Moderate Flood Warning means   floodwater can:
 A Major Flood Warning means   floodwater can:
Reach the top of the river banks.                     Spill over river banks and spread across low-lying areas. Cause widespread flooding.               
Come up through drains in nearby streets.      Start to threaten buildings, roads, rail, power and other developments. Threaten more houses and businesses.
Cover low-lying areas including riverside camping areas. Require evacuation in some areas.                  Cause properties and whole areas to be isolated by water.
Affect some low-lying caravan parks.              Cover main roads.                                            Disrupt major roads and transport routes.

Cover minor roads, tracks and low level bridges.

  Require many evacuations.                
Spread across land or go into buildings on some properties and farms.    


Severe Thunderstorm Warnings 

Thunderstorms are classified as severe when there is potential to cause significant localised damage through wind gusts, large hail, tornadoes or flash flooding. Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are issued to the community by BoM.

Severe Weather Warnings 

These warnings are issued to the community by BoM when severe weather is expected that is not directly related to severe thunderstorms or bushfires. Examples of severe weather include damaging winds and flash flooding.

Flash flooding happens quickly. Residents should listen out for warnings with flash flooding and remember that flash flooding:

  • Occurs so fast that it is difficult to provide a detailed warning. Often it arrives without warning.
  • Results from heavy rainfall during short severe storms. 

VICSES Warnings

We utilise the VicEmergency app, website and hotline (1800 226 226) to distribute warnings and emergency information in Victoria. Communities can also access this information through our social media channels (Victoria State Emergency Service on Facebook and VICSES News on Twitter) and emergency broadcasters, such as Sky News TV and various radio stations. You can find out more about emergency broadcasters here.

During some emergencies, we may alert communities by sounding a local siren, or by sending an SMS to mobile phones or a voice message to landlines.

VICSES warnings aim to provide you with as much information to help you make good decisions to protect yourself and your family

The warning level is based on severity, conditions and the likelihood that the emergency could impact on the community.

You are in imminent danger and need to take action immediately. You will be impacted. 
An emergency is developing nearby. You need to take action now to protect yourself and others.
An incident is occurring or has occurred in the area. Access Information and monitor conditions.
Can also be used as a notification that activity in the area has subsided and is no longer a danger to you.
An evacuation is recommended or procedures are in place to evacuate.
A newsletter containing updates for communities affected by an emergency.
Can also be used as a notification that an incident has occurred but there is no threat to community. 
During some emergencies, we may alert communities by sounding a local siren, or by sending an SMS to mobile phones or a voice message to landlines.


Victorians are reminded to know how to stay informed and to never rely on one source for emergency information.

Read more about VICSES warnings.